I Had a Bad Run, and Here’s What I’m Doing About it.

Bad runs happen. They are a simple fact of life for anyone who runs either for sport or the pure pleasure of running. knowing that does not take away the sting of a bad run, but it can help you get your mind back in the game. In this post, I talk about some of the tools you can develop to deal with and learn from a bad run.


What is a Perfect Run?

Perfect runs are easy. You just excel at your goal and mile after mile you enjoy the pleasure of running. In a competition, a perfect run is the completion of a full-blown strategy with plenty of energy reserves, good positioning, and maybe a win or a dramatic improvement in placement.

Great as that sounds, perfection is an illusion that is not sustainable. Oh, Snap! What? Good, however, is not sustainable but your record of running is not going to be 100 percent good or great. There will be a few black marks on your schedule where your run was, well, bad. Big deal.

That healthy attitude is part of how you begin to deal with a bad run. These are not failures, but successes. Good runs build our confidence and if allow them to, bad runs ruin it. That is a big mistake for anyone who runs. Bad runs are opportunities and here’s how to deal with a bad run.

Mind vs. Body

Running is as much about our mindset as it is about our body and our condition. Remember all those muscle cramps, that burning sensation in every fiber of your body, and difficulty breathing, chest pain, and the rest of the joy that you experienced as a new runner? Yes, our body is as much a part of this process as is our mind. A bad run is sometimes a signal that we’ve pushed our body as far as we can for the moment.

We talk about plateaus and then collapse when we hit one. A plateau is not a failure it is a milestone. When you hit a plateau it is time to adjust your goals and how you train. A bad run can be a sign that you’ve hit a plateau. Getting down about a bad run is a real downer. Those negative feelings bring on negative body chemistry. Instead of feeling disappointment or sad be happy. It is important to understand the body and mind are connected. When one is sagging let the other lift it up. Those happy and rejoicing moments release positive chemicals that help our body recover. Celebrating is how to deal with a bad run.

Listen to Your Thoughts

That body-mind connection is critical. If your mind is telling you that you are going to fail, that your too tired, that you cannot do this, then tell it where to go. Change how you think so that you bring your mind into the game before you ever start to run. Listen. Ask yourself, “What is my mind telling me.” It is not always in words either. Sometimes it is just an odd feeling. Listen to it so that you can identify the underlying issues.

By understanding your feelings you can master them. Positivity is a beautiful tool that helps you to succeed. Change how you think about your runs and watch the difference that small action makes.

Bad Runs are Tools of Positivity

It seems like just the opposite, but this philosophy of bad being good is not new. We have expressions that touch on this. The silver lining is one such expression. Learn from your experience and when you have a bad run, what you learn is your silver lining. If you can learn something positive from a bad run then you have just improved your next run and the one after that. If we ran every single day to the best of our ability the joy would leave us. It would be the “norm” to have the best run. Part of the joy of running is the struggle and the sense of accomplishment. Challenge yourself when you have a bad run to use that experience to make yourself a better runner.

We run for a variety of reasons, and every single one of us has a bad run now and then. They are simply part of running. They are also powerful tools that help us to learn more about who we are as a runner and about who we are as a person. So the next time you have a bad run, just walk it off and focus on the lessons that it offers you.